The final round of Short+Sweet Dance was the most eclectic of the bunch, with jungle animals, dancing nuns and even a game show. Here’s what I thought:
Elegant Error 4/5
A compelling “movement study” which draws us in to the inner world of dance and what it takes to be an elite professional dancer. The performance is made up of a series of intriguing and visually striking ballet vignettes with the performer skillfully showing us not only the physical strength and determination involved but also the inner turmoil that inevitably occurs.
This two hander is a superb symbolic illustration of the downward spiral a marriage can take once it passes that initial honeymoon stage. The piece is well crafted and choreographed with clever use of contemporary dance to represent the journey; the performers go from moving in unison hand in hand to (literally) becoming a burden on each other seamlessly and with impressive strength and grace.
Mating Rituals Of The 21st Century 3/5
A fascinating group performance akin to a night out on the dance floor with the performers emerging from the wings in turn delivering popular dance moves. The free-flowing style gives the entire piece a trance-like quality and while there isn’t a specific narrative per se, it still makes for quite an engrossing watch.
Whose Dance Is It Anyway? 4/5
A clear crowd favorite, this comical and entertaining “dance doco” is a play on the improv game show Whose Line Is It Anyway?. Like the original programme, this piece is almost entirely improvised with audience participation key to the hilarity that ensues – the performers are incredibly quick witted and effortlessly garner laughs, even after they have left the stage. Personally while I did enjoy it, I think this piece would have been better suited in the theatre category.
The Crocodile And Monkey 5/5
This dramatic dance piece is a modern retelling of an Indian fable, wonderfully conveyed through narration, an animated score, colorful costumes and a brilliant mesh of contemporary dance and Bharatnatyam, an ancient Indian classical dance style. This was my personal favorite of the night as it is short and sweet storytelling at its finest and the perfect embodiment of this category, in my opinion.
This performance is a look back on twentieth century popular music with even the use of a record player for added nostalgic effect. Using the vinyl records, the two performers reminisce and share stories from their life based on their collection which they artistically fan out on the stage; I liked the quirky nature of this piece – eccentric and slightly absurd yet captivating.
Daylight Come And We Want To Go Home 1/5
Four male ape-like creatures (presumably, judging by their gait and mannerisms) are caught in an unexplained tribal style battle which even extends beyond the stage. I struggled with this piece – it lacked narrative structure and coherence, and if there was a metaphorical message, sadly it didn’t translate (to me, anyway).
Untitled Drag Performance With Ghosts 2/5
Based on Thomas Hanna’s approach on sensory awareness and fluid movement, this solo interpretative dance is a visual representation of this concept and it is an enigmatic and haunting piece albeit possibly too obscure to be universally appreciated. I thought the use of imagery from the performer’s mad costume to the wayward choreography against the projected image was particularly effective.
Closing the show is an interesting quartet – a group of nuns with a dancing proclivity for 60s Motown tunes. These “soul sisters” deliver attitude and energy all while (true to character) always looking heavenward in an engaging display of expressive and dynamic choreography.
Overall another great selection of storytelling through dance and I especially loved that there were more narrative-based performances in this round. Looking forward to seeing who makes the Gala Final!
Short+Sweet Dance will be at the Herald Theatre until June 9th. Click here for tickets.
WEEK 1: Tuesday, May 28 – Saturday, June 1 2013 (Tues-Thur 7pm, Fri-Sat 8pm)
WILDCARD: Saturday, June 1 (3pm)
WEEK 2: Tuesday, June 4 – June 8 2013 (Tues-Thur 7pm, Fri-Sat 8pm)
GALA FINAL: Sunday June 9 (3pm & 7pm)
For the full festival programme, click here.